8th Gen Gets More Complex: Confirmed Kaby Lake

The title of this page is a retrospect as to how Intel has literally thrown away the naming scheme that has driven its core product base for the last few years, confusing everyone (including high profile partners). The previous naming scheme was for the most part unambiguous – each processor ‘generation’ was one specific Core family or Core microarchitecture design. For an enthusiast, the 6th Generation Core family was based around Skylake, or 4th Generation Core family was Haswell. Not anymore.

When it was announced back at Intel's Manufacturing Day that Intel was going to be fluid on product line architecture and naming, it would appear that we (the technology press, the enthusiast community) severely under-estimated how fluid it would be. This is currently how history will see the 8th Generation:

Intel's Core Architecture Cadence (1/7)
Core Generation Microarchitecture Process Node Release Year
2nd Sandy Bridge 32nm 2011
3rd Ivy Bridge 22nm 2012
4th Haswell 22nm 2013
5th Broadwell 14nm 2014
6th Skylake 14nm 2015
7th Kaby Lake 14nm+ 2016
8th Kaby Lake-R
Coffee Lake-S
Kaby Lake-G
Cannon Lake-U
9th Ice Lake
10nm+ 2018?
Unknown Cascade Lake (Server) ? ?

So far, Intel has launched three specific Core microarchitecture designs as ‘8th Generation’ products, and a fourth has been announced. At the high-end, we have the desktop class Coffee Lake processors, using Intel’s latest 14++ process and running up to 8 cores. For mobile, Intel has launched the 15W Kaby Lake Refresh processors, pushing quad-core Kaby Lake parts into where dual-core 7th Generation Kaby Lake hardware used to go. Then there is this new product, Kaby Lake-G, which is not explicitly a refresh, as it uses the same 7th Generation H-series cores as before. The fourth piece of the puzzle is Intel’s first crack at 10nm with Cannon Lake, which at CES 2017 was promised to be shipping by the end of the year in 2017, but unfortunately has missed the target.

Extrapolating this terminology, we can look forward (!) to similar naming in future generations. During 2018 we are expecting Intel to fill out the Coffee Lake processor line, perhaps even bringing it into the market where current 8th Generation parts already exist or perhaps even where 7th Generation parts are. Unfortunately, looking at the processor name and number will no-longer be an indication of the microarchitecture underneath.

Intel’s response to this, to be clear, is that they state that the 8th Generation product portfolio represents the best of what Intel has to offer in each of the respective product segments. Intel’s best will have the highest number, essentially. While this is probably not a bad position to take, it can leave customers in a situation where if the customer has a good last-generation product, but wants to ‘downgrade’ to a mid-range latest-generation product, the user could end up paying for getting the same hardware in return.

Intel’s Performance Numbers Final Words


View All Comments

  • Hixbot - Sunday, January 7, 2018 - link

    Pigs just flew. Reply
  • tipoo - Sunday, January 7, 2018 - link

    I'm pretty confident we'll see this in the 15" rMBP. If you remember Iris Pro which Apple nearly single handedly asked Intel for, I can see them being the ones to push for this as well.

    Wonder if that means a redesign, if not even just more batteries in the same space would be nice, or more room for cooling. And, cough, SD card. Most likely none of that, but the move up from the meager 80GB/s feeding the current GPUs would go a long way, even aside from the extra execution resources.
  • tipoo - Sunday, January 7, 2018 - link

    That, uh, was meant to be a new comment.

    Comments, but editable.
  • nico_mach - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Based on the TDPs and looking around at the market, they seem tailor made for VR work on imacs, possible mac minis (though I think that line is dead as soon as the stock is sold off). Reply
  • willis936 - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Not even Tim Cook's Apple is crazy enough to put a 65W part in a 15" laptop. Hopefully at least. Reply
  • tyaty1 - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    It is less than the combined TDP of CPU and the dGPU on the latest MBP. Reply
  • WinterCharm - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    The MacBook Pro's current TDP is 87W.

    I'm amazed that they top out at 85ºC and barely throttle. It's kind of insane.
  • cditty - Sunday, January 21, 2018 - link

    Actually, the 15" throttles a whole lot if you do anything 'Pro' with it. When I do video encodes, it begins slowing down after the first 10 solid minutes or so. I love the machine, the build, the look, BUT, you are wasting money if you get a CPU above the base, because you are rarely going to get full speed under sustained load. If they move to this model and can actually maintain speed, I will most certainly upgrade. The Kaby Lake MBP has been a disappointment to me. Reply
  • skavi - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    You have to realize that we're already well past that point. There's a 45W CPU and 35W GPU in the current MacBook Pro. Reply
  • lefenzy - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    The 15" rMBP ships with an 89W charger. So only the 65 W solutions would work here. Reply

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